The Marlins are set to promote top pitching prospect Max Meyer, the team announced on Twitter (with video of Meyer learning the news). Craig Mish of SportsGrid reports (Twitter link) that Meyer will start on Saturday against the Phillies.
It’ll be the major league debut for the right-hander, who flew through the minor leagues. Miami selected Meyer with the third overall pick in the 2020 draft. The University of Minnesota product was the first pitcher off the board that year, and he’s excelled over his first two years in pro ball. There was no minor league season during his draft year because of the pandemic, and the Fish aggressively assigned Meyer to Double-A Pensacola for his first game action.
Meyer handled the assignment with aplomb, pitching to a 2.41 ERA through 20 starts. He punched out an above-average 27.2% of opponents while inducing ground-balls on more than half the batted balls he surrendered. Meyer’s walks were a touch high, but it was a promising showing for his first full pro season. He earned a late-season cameo at Triple-A Jacksonville and headed into last offseason as one of the sport’s better pitching prospects.
Heading into the 2022 campaign, each of Baseball America, FanGraphs and Kiley McDaniel of ESPN slotted Meyer among the game’s top 100 overall prospects. He drew praise for a mid-upper 90s fastball and a slider that some evaluators considered the best single pitch in the 2020 draft class. The quality of his changeup was a bit more divisive, with FanGraphs and ESPN projecting it to average or better but BA considering it more of a fringy offering.
Meyer isn’t unanimously regarded as a future ace. BA and Keith Law of the Athletic (who slotted Meyer fifth in the Miami system heading into the year) each noted that some evaluators point to his lack of pinpoint fastball command as a reason to project a potential bullpen future down the road. That said, all four outlets suggested Meyer has the potential to be an above-average, mid-rotation or better arm if his command comes along. The Marlins will surely give him every opportunity to cement himself in the starting five over the coming seasons.
This year, the 23-year-old has continued to overpower upper minors hitters. He’s made 12 starts with the Jumbo Shrimp, tossing 58 innings of 3.72 ERA ball. He has a 28.4% strikeout percentage with a 50% grounder rate, and he’s cut his walk rate slightly from 9.6% in Double-A to 8.3% this season. Meyer spent a month on the injured list between mid-May and June, but he’s allowed two or fewer runs in each of his four starts since returning.
More to come.
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